Homogeneous Cargo : If the load consists of homogeneous cargo (all the cargo has the same sizes) the complete volume of the container should be utilized. Different kinds of packaging methods exist such as cartons, boxes, bags, drums and barrels, rolls, liners for liquid bulk and small wooden crates. The container may have vacant cubic on completion of stuffing due to weight restrictions or otherwise and sensible securing is necessary on grounds of safety and cargo care.
Uniform Stowage : When uniform cargo is stowed into a container and free space is unavoidable, the cargo must be stowed in such a way that there is a gap in the middle of the stow as per diagram.
The gap, which can be fore and aft or athwart, must be chocked with wood or lashed with rope and in case the cargo is fragile then nets or dunnage bags can be used.
Cartons & Packages : Important to follow any instructions printed on the cartons, e.g particular side up for bottles of wine which require corks to remain immersed. To ensure stability in the stow and spread the weight as evenly as possible the “Bonded Block Stow” should be used.
Bagged Cargo : Bagged cargo tends to settle during transit causing pressure on side walls. Normal practice is to stow bags in interlocking stows. Bag on bag or building air chimneys within the stow may be necessary where extra ventilation is required. To avoid the risk of bags falling out of the container when the doors are opened, a brace or net is placed against the final row. Bags which are stowed and secured on pallets do not cause this problem and the cargo can be handled much faster.
Drums & Barrels : Drums and barrels in containers should always be stowed upright if possible. If the bung or closure is at one end, then it should be stowed with the bung uppermost. Barrels of earthen ware etc. should always be stowed upright.
Unless the drums or barrels are specially designed to “nest”, there should be some form of soft dunnage or ply between each tier of drums. Dunnage should be laid sufficiently close to provide full support to the tier above. Rolling hoops, when pressed out of the side walls of the drums are particularly susceptible to rupture through chafe. In some instances it may be necessary to lay dunnage between individual drums to prevent rolling hoops from chafing one another. A second option is that each alternate row of drums may be lifted a few inches by carefully laid dunnage, allowing the rolling hoops to ride clear and reducing the effective diameter of each drum.
Ensure proper securing in way of the doorway with a fence, net or lashing.
Rolls : When rolls are stowed upright they should be packed closely together. Any empty spaces between the rolls should be filled in by sacks of sawdust, corrugated cardboard or similar soft dunnage. Secure the rolls by means of timber, nets or wedges.
When the rolls are stowed horizontally, the rolls which are nearest to the door should be secured by wedges or other similar devices as per diagram. Support the rolls evenly along their length on a flat surface particularly with cargo such as carpets.
Rolls of paper require paper clamps for careful handling.
Bulk Liquids : Wine, latex, printing ink and other non-hazardous liquids are often transported in strong synthetic “Flexi-Bags” in 20′ GP containers. The bags must be braced at the door end of the container with a strong timber (or other material) bulkhead. Also make sure that the harness straps on the bags are secured tightly to the anchorage rings in the container. It is not only necessary to secure the load but also to make sure the pressure on the walls is not too high (if so the pressure must be distributed with planks or plates).
Bulk Solids : Bulk bags are used for a wide range of granular substances including malt, cocoa and coffee.
Hanging Garments : Specialist containers are available for shipping clothing garments. They are carried either on hanger rails or suspended from strings and significant traffic moves from the Far East, India, Sri Lanka and South Africa to Europe. Separate procedures issued by ICM cover all aspects of container preparation which are crucial for a successful out-turn. Failure to observe procedures can result in considerable claims for dry cleaning of garments which have dropped to the container floor.
Light Vehicles : Cars and similar light vehicles are commonly shipped in containers. Webbing or Spanish Windlass lashings are used as cross lashings. In the case of non-operating reefers this is via lashing eyes clipped into the T section flooring.
See AUTO-MOBILES rules regarding petrol under the IMDG Code. Special car racks can also be fitted into containers to allow more cars to be carried.
Hazardous Cargo : Must be declared to the appropriate shipping line Dangerous Cargo Dept.
All documentation must be completed. Container must be properly placarded with an IMO danger label affixed to each of the outside walls of the container (front, door and the two sides).
IMO stowage segregation MUST be complied with at all times.